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Internet ‘more popular than TV’ for children

The amount of time children spend on the internet has overtaken TV viewing for the first time

The amount of time children spend on the internet has overtaken that spent watching television for the first time, according to a new Childwise report.

The annual survey has suggested that young people now use the internet for an average of three hours per day, compared to 2.1 hours watching television.

The report, based on a sample of over 2,000 five to 16-year-olds, has been following children’s viewing behaviour since the mid-1990s.

For the first time, tablets have overtaken other types of computer, with a 50 per cent surge on last year.

The study revealed YouTube as the dominant destination for young people.

The video-sharing website is used every day by 47 per cent of 16-year-olds to watch video clips, listen to music and use games-related material.

YouTube is also a popular way of watching television programmes, used by 74 per cent of young people.

Simon Leggett, Childwise research director, said, “Growing access to the internet at any time and in any place, and a blurring of television content across channels and devices, brings a landmark change in behaviour this year.

“Children are now seeking out the content of their choice. They still find traditional TV programmes engaging but are increasingly watching them online and on-demand or binge-watching box sets.”

Among those watching TV, the Netflix on-demand service was more popular than any conventional television channel.

Asked about their viewing in the last week, 50 per cent had watched programmes on Netflix, compared with 47 per cent for ITV1 and 46 per cent for BBC1, the most popular UK television channels.